Changing rules and guidelines reflect an evolving data center industry. One example is the ASHRAE 90.4 standard that establishes the minimum energy efficiency requirements of data centers for design, construction, and a plan for operation and maintenance. Recently introduced, this new standard includes the mechanical load component and electrical load component metrics, which require new ways for increasing facility management efficiency prior to construction. ASHRAE 90.4 additionally references standards that feature wider acceptable ranges for temperatures and air humidity levels that reflect recent improvements in server hardware environmental tolerances as well as regional conditions. On the plus side, the new ranges allow data centers to take advantage of free cooling (air side economizers) and evaporative cooling to reduce mechanical cooling loads. Then again, by widening the window, this standard could potentially open the door for designers or data center owners to risk running their facilities at higher temperatures and lower humidity levels than the equipment was designed to tolerate. Equally concerning, equipment warranties may be invalid at the higher end temperatures.
With the recent push for more sustainable, environmentally friendly buildings, data centers are also challenged to embrace greener practices. The power usage effectiveness (PUE) metric, developed by the nonprofit consortium GreenGrid represents a long standing performance metric for greener industry facilities. As the ratio of total facilities energy to IT equipment energy, ideally the PUE would be, where all the energy is used for computing.
For data center facility managers and business owners, achieving energy saving goals while also reducing risk is challenging. Addressing future issues today is essential. Download this guide to learn more about the five industry trends that are shaping internal environments in the data center industry.